#BlackPantherChallenge: Why People Are Raising Funds for Kids to See this Marvel Superhero
by G. Brown
In about one month, the world will learn the back story to one of Marvel’s latest superheroes with the opening of “Black Panther”. The hero hype has been strong with this one… advance ticket sales setting a new Fandango record “as the top seller among Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in the first 24 hours, topping “Captain America:Civil War” according to Variety Magazine. The trailer for the movie ranked among MCU’s top 3 most viewed trailers-EVER!
That’s a lot of hype to live up to and it looks like “Black Panther” is the hero for the job. People are so excited about this movie that its sparked an unusual phenomenon. Viral “Go Fund Me” campaigns are popping up and spreading all over the country from Nashville Tennessee to Columbus Georgia to Harlem . The fundraisers are trending and drawing thousands under campaign monikers like “BlackHeroesMatter” and “Help Children See “Black Panther”.
One of the first campaigns set up was by Frederick Joseph who ABC news says “wanted to give back to his community in some way and with the highly-anticipated “Black Panther” hitting theaters next month, he decided to try and raise funds to send a few hundred kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem for free.” But the campaign that started as a snowball with a goal of goal of $10,000 turned into an avalanche with a total of ,as of this writing, $42,441.00 raised in 17 days.
The movie centers around the fictitious African nation of Wakanda and brings us the origin story of T’Challa—King by day, Superhero and protector all other times. The Wakandans are depicted as a wealthy, technologically advanced people who are self-sufficient and in control of their own destinies. How many times have you seen Africa shown in this light? This movie shatters all the previous Western and Hollywood narratives of Africa as a poor, starving nation made up of people who are inferior intellectually, socially and financially.
A well respected and usually culturally conscious comedian/actor recently dismissed “Black Panther” as just another comic book superhero, kid movie that he just can’t get excited about. I get that…slasher films and buddy ensemble comedies like The Hangover”, “Brides Maids” and “Girls Trip” aren’t my thing. But this movie has the potential to redefine genres, uplift an entire community and educate masses. Even if I didn’t enjoy getting my nerd on (which I do) I would make an exception for a fantasy film mired in so much rich and authentic African heritage. As “Black Panther” writer Joe Robert Cole explains this is a “historic opportunity to be a part of something important and special, particularly at a time when African Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization.” This movie could be blazing a trail that finally diversifies the title of superhero beyond just the “White Savior” trope and opens the Hollywood doors to Blacks, women, Asians, Latinos and anybody can save the day.
People have signed on for the #CinnamonChallenge, the #TryNot to Laugh Challenge, the U Name It Dance Challenge and those were just for fun. Crowdfunding campaigns can so easily be a turn off because of the scammers and people raising money for their own selfish needs like breast/butt enlargement or whatever. But the altruistic nature of this endeavor is catching on for one simple reason— it’s exposing young (and some old) minds to the probability of their heritage and the possibility of what they can become. A chance to inspire generations while educating and entertaining them is one Go Fund Me Campaign worth its weight in gold.